21 October 2008

Ode to Appetizers

Well, hello, it's been a while. Mainly because I've been borderline nomadic and haven't dabbled in many culinary wonders of late. HOWEVER, this weekend... everything changed.
You see, my best friend flew in from college, and in doing so unleashed as much of an extravaganza as could be fit into the course of 24 hours.

Surrey's- breakfast for them, "lunch" for me (I had previously devoured a CC's chocolate chunk cookie, which, by the way, is sent directly from Jesus to us). I haven't gone to Surrey's much because it's on Magazine Street way down where it turns one way. For some reason, this repels me; presumably because it's one way the wrong way when coming from my house? So psychologically, I reason that the restaurant doesn't want me to come. Every time I'm there, though, my heart breaks a little. It was there that I enjoyed the greatest bowl of shrimp and grits I have ever, ever encountered, and it was there this past weekend that I devoured a fabulously perfect Cuban beef sandwich, comprised of realllly really tender beef, ham, Muenster cheese, and dill pickles that tasted homemade. All on sourdough. Need I say more? It was juicy.

My monthly venture into Sucre- six each of the Gianduja Crunch, Avery, and Bolivian Palet D'Or, plus two Passionfruit for the road. The guy who was ordering before me seemed to be waffling and amateurish. I didn't let him go before insisting that he try the Gianduja Crunch. Other moments: Joel, who works there, surveyed my selection and said, "Ooh, that's gonna be a good box." I explained to him that I knew what I was doing; in fact, I wrote my college essay on this, such is my expertise. He shook my hand and snuck me a free tasting of macaroons -- two pistachio, two strawberry. I had one of each yesterday, and I now know NEVER to pass them up again (I was previously a bit wary of their colors and went straight for the chocolate-hazelnut ones instead). Sucre macaroons melt in your mouth; they retain a perfect gooiness redolent of chocolate chip cookies straight out of the oven. I'm not sure if this is an accurate representation of the Idea of the Macaroon, but whatever it is, it's AMAZING. I'm going to get every color of the rainbow next time I'm in.
Before I left, Joel introduced me to Tariq Hanna, Sucre's chocolate chef, and explained that I had written the essay that might determine my future gushing over his creations. Then... the man KISSED MY HAND. My hand has been kissed by the genius of Sucre. It was a major watershed.

Baru- A veritable deluge of tapas! And oh, what amazing inventions they are. After all, why would you limit yourself to the steak entree when you can order 10 tapas with three friends and enjoy a bit of all of them? Every time I am at Baru, I am struck by how obsolete the idea of traditional dining is nowadays. All I have left to say on this subject is that the Mazorca -- a plating of smoky roasted corn, Salao cheese (a farmer's cheese), "pink sauce" (a sort of tomato aioli), and potato sticks (imagine whisper-thin crunchy potato fries) -- will save my life. That, and I want to devote my entire life to the ceviche there. It's superb.

A picture of me basking in the glory of my Cuban sandwich will be up as soon as I get it from Jenna.

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